The big reward for me gardening in January, is not only getting ahead of things while it’s relatively quiet, but also coming across all the tiny signs that spring is just around the corner. My special plant today may seem an obvious choice, but it never fails to stop me in my tracks with its delicate lilac flowers and their brilliant orange anthers. It never fails to stop the bumble bees either, being a rich source of early pollen. Frail as the flowers may look, it is a resilient little plant and copes well in quite tough surroundings.
We planted ours originally along the side of a path. Their corms have now multiplied, and they have also generously seeded themselves further into the grass: they are the perfect naturalisers and are among the first in the genus to flower.This crocus manages well in dappled shade, but full sun will bring out the best.
Crocus tommasinianus is native to many parts of eastern Europe, but it is equally happy growing in a pot on a balcony, so there is no excuse!
It also holds the RHS’s award of garden merit.